Nursing and the nursing workplace in Queensland, 2001–2010: What the nurses think


  • Robert Eley MSc PhD,

    Senior Research Fellow, Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Rural and Remote Area Health, The University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
    • Correspondence: Robert Eley, Princess Alexandra Hospital Emergency Department, The University of Queensland School of Medicine, Ipswich Rd. Woolloongabba, Qld 4012 Australia. Email:

    Search for more papers by this author
  • Karen Francis RN PhD,

    Professor and Head of School
    1. School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Desley Hegney RN PhD

    1. School of Nursing and Midwifery, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author


The purpose of the study was to inform policy for reform in nursing. A survey mailed to members of the Queensland Nurses' Union four times between 2001 and 2010 elicited views on their employment and working conditions, professional development and career opportunities. Results across years and sectors of nursing consistently showed dissatisfaction in many aspects of employment, particularly by nurses working in aged care. However, views on staffing numbers, skill mix, workload, work stress, pay and staff morale all showed significant improvements over the decade. For example in 2001, 48.8% of nurses believed that their pay was poor, whereas in 2010, this had reduced to 35.2%. Furthermore, there was a significant rise throughout the decade in the opinion of the value of nursing as a good career. In light of the need to address nurse workforce shortages, the trends are encouraging; however, more improvements are required in order to support recruitment and retention.